Friday, February 03, 2012

Brian Dettmer: Textonomy

From One to ZeroEver since someone told me about book artist Brian Dettmer a while back, I've been wanting to see his work in person, so I went to the busy opening reception for his show at the Toomey Tourell gallery on Thursday evening. He typically begins with discarded reference books with lots of pictures. He seals the edges then carves through the pages, excavating overlapping layers of images & text. It was difficult for me to stop staring at the results. I loved the tabular clutter of From One to Zero, created from a book about numbers. A gallery staffer described its $5,500 price as "affordable."

American Peoples, 02.02.2012 American Peoples, altered set of encyclopedias by Brian Dettmer, at Toomey Tourell gallery.Many of the pieces combine several volumes into large sculptures. Standing in front of the five-foot high American Peoples, I felt embraced by its splayed pages, spilling over with geographic & anthropological images. Mr. Dettmer is politely vague about his techniques & the amount of time it takes to create his art. He was present at the reception & stood innocuously in a corner chatting with visitors. More of Mr. Dettmer's pieces are currently on display at the Jewish Community Center, & I'm looking forward to checking that out too.

§ Brian Dettmer: Textonomy
Toomey Tourell Fine Art
February 1st – March 31st, 2012


John Marcher said...

That first book/piece is quite incredible. I have to go see this exhibit.

y2k said...

I didn't recognize his name, but definitely recognized his works from your photos. Looking at his website, I remember I saw his work at the group show in NYC's MAD a few years back. Too bad none of his upcoming shows are near me.

Axel Feldheim said...

Mr. Marcher: Please check him out & see if you can figure out how he does it. It should be apparent, but I'm not sure I really understand how he can cut underneath the pages. The gallery is in 49 Geary. There's also a satellite exhibit at the JCC, which I have yet to see.

y2k: I think I saw that same show at the MAD, although I did not know Brian Dettmer by name back then either. He's gearing up for a big show at the MOCA Atlanta late in the year, which will apparently be the only show of his this year. Galleries love him, though, because he usually sells out.